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YMMV / Shadowrun

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Tropes for the tabletop game

  • Broken Base: The Edition Wars. Especially with the advent of Sixth Edition (and its intensely divisive focus on Edge accrual), the community has ended up massively riven on which edition is actually enjoyable and "best" to play, with a lot of different opinions and hats thrown in the ring. This is not helped by almost every edition introducing colossal mechanical alterations (often down to the level of basic combat calculations or initiative and action economy), world feel, tone of splats, and direction and involvement of the meta-plot (with, as noted below, 4e's darkness rubbing many people the wrong way, while 5e and 6e are often accused of retreading old ground too heavily or relying too heavily on former metaplot, all but demanding GMs and players be familiar with books dating back to the early Nineties to understand the whole plot). A reasonably good summation of the divide and the discussions around it can be found here.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common accusation levied at the game during the Third and Fourth Editions. The 3e and early 4e sig characters were largely antiheroes. 4e's later sig characters were rapists, vivisectionists, spree killers (who in 3e were specifically held up as examples of bad shadowrunning) and amoral assassins.note  There are no good MegaCorps (or factions with enough power to stand up to them), period. Oh, and FastJack, grand old dean of shadowrunning, is now starting to go senile, though this turned out to be a Red Herring. He's instead having to deal with an AI trying to overwrite his brain! 5e took some steps to come back from this... except, you know, Deus reappearing and the freaking Elder Gods, pure Lovecraft-level bad shit, seemingly taking an interest on Earth.
    • Lampshaded in Dark Terrors:
      Slamm-0!: For once, I would love a nice, quiet JackPoint evening where the world doesn’t seem to be ending every Thursday.
    • Beating this trope senseless and leaving it in an alley is the point of 5e book Better Than Bad, a guide to how to model social change for the better, as well as amplifying it through shadowrunning. The book also reveals Harlequin's alive and back to playing Trickster Mentor for characters who actually want to save some portion of the world.
    • The first real big 6e adventure book, "Cutting Black", also feels like a major swerve away. Sure, the UCAS is on its last legs, but those injuries were self-inflicted by bad leadership and there's a real theme of people stepping up and taking responsibility to save and improve their communities as opposed to the megas and nations being immovable objects, and for that matter even just outright counters the 4e idea that the megas and major nations were invincible (Ares would've been screwed without shadow help in the Detroit Bug War, and the once-mighty UCAS is one final crisis away from likely total destruction, with the implication that stuff like this could happen just as easily to any other mega or nation). Hell, it introduces the idea that the bug spirits might come to terms with Earth someday!
  • Game-Breaker: Third Edition has an Edge called "Connected" that, when taken for a vendor contact, allows you to buy from that contact at the list price or sell at the street price, which can be as much as three times more. Thus, taking that edge for two contacts (one to buy from, one to sell to) allows a player to get ridiculous amounts of money while the GM isn't paying attention.
    • A troll adept, with only three points of Magic and the right skills in 4th Edition rulebooks, could pick up a paperclip and explode someone's head by throwing it really hard.
    • The physical adept can become noticeably broken if you use initiation to offset the Essence cost of cyberware or to avoid focus addiction.
    • The chemical DMSO. If you splash it on someone, it allows for other chemicals to be absorbed into the DMSO-coated skin. Unless your armor is waterproof, you're in a world of trouble - if whatever goodies your assailant used in the cocktail don't ruin your day, everyday contaminants will. The end result being that if you mix DMSO with poisonous drugs and load it into a squirt gun, you get a super soaker that deals one-hit kills. You can hear details about how this can affect a game environment in this video.
      • Truth in Gaming - DMSO does precisely that. Luckily, IRL no-one's figured out how to make a squirt gun safe to use with said payload; one mistake and the shooter gets a handful and thus a bloodstream-ful of whatever they're spraying. On top of that, the reason it's not more prevalent in reality is because it doesn't just carry a payload; it makes the skin permeable to chemicals that are already present prior to exposure, and takes a while to wear off - someone can take a DMSO splash and be susceptible to environmental hazards hours later.
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    • Spellcasters have always been pretty powerful but 5e's Mystic Adept has gone from an unfortunate exception to that rule to a near Master of All thanks to their Adept powers no longer lowering their Magic stat. They don't have an innate Astral Perception compared to other spellcasters but Adept powers can fix that.
    • Quickening in 5E. What keeps spellcasting in Shadowrun from the way it's used in Dungeons and Dragons is that spellcasters take cumulative -2 penalty to all checks for each buff they have to concentrate on. With a low-karma investment and a spellcasting friend with at least one level of initiation, however, you can quicken a spell, i.e render it permanent. Quickened spells can be dispelled or blocked by mana barriers, but they have a permanent bonus equal to their force to resist dispels and punch through barriers. If you have a contact with access to Quickening or, gods forbid, your spellcaster learns how to do it, the low-end way to apply it is for your party to have their stats increased by six and get three extra initiative die for a handful of karma and an evening's work.
    • Anticipation in 6E. Usually, if a player wants to make multiple attacks in one turn, they have to split their dicepool between the multiple attacks. For 4 points of edge - which are trivial to generate in 6E - the Anticipation action lets the player make multiple ranged attacks without splitting their dicepool, the only limit to the number of targets being ammunition. A moderately-optimized streetsam can wipe out an entire HTR squad in this manner, as demonstrated by Anticipatory Alan
  • Genius Bonus: The Crime Mall is a literal Black Market complex operating from the remains of an actually abandoned shopping mall in the Puyallup Barrens, dealing with goods that normally couldn't be found and/or purchased from regular merchants or are considerably beyond the reach of anybody who has a SIN. The real life Puyallup town has its origins stemming from Native American tribes who first settled there in around the 1830s and whose name literally means "the generous people" in their native dialect. It was only after 1877 that a European cartographer mapped the town and named it after the tribes who lived there.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Shadowbeat supplement from 1992 reveals that American football is alive and well in the 2050s, with many of the old NFL teams still operating under the same names... well, except for the Washington Chieftains. Even with the hostility between the old U.S. and the Native Americans that became independent, somebody decided that "Redskins" was just a bit inappropriate.
    • The Paranormal Creatures of North America sourcebook made a joking reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger having gone into politics, over a decade before he ran for governor of California.
    • The Universal Brotherhood sourcebook describes a thinly veiled expy of Scientology. Just replace the "nuked ghost" thing with insect spirits. Hilariously, it was released in 1990, almost a full decade before Scientology became widely known as an Acceptable Target and displays considerably more subtle knowledge of said religion than most modern digs at it - specifically its claims of having "an owner's manual for the human mind."
      • At the time, that quote was the actual TV marketing blurb for Dianetics.
    • In Nigel Findley's Shadowplay, a decker gets a hold of some Lost Technology - the ability to tap what was thought to be 100% secure fiber-optic communications. Global war nearly breaks out as everyone and their dog wants to be the sole owner of the technology. She ultimately posts it on the Corporate Court's message board so everyone has it, making the fighting pointless. Hilarious part? She had to fight her way past the 2050's equivalent of the NSA in order to do it, as the American government would prefer global war to losing any of their surveillance capability.
    • Saeder-Krupp is a fictional amalgation of Krupp Heavy Industries with the fictional Saeder Munitions. Real Life Krupp Heavy Industries merged with Thyssen AG in 1999, forming the ThyssenKrupp Mega-Corp as a result.
  • Tear Jerker: Toward the end of Hard Targets, Clockwork gets hit by an IC after Glitch shuts down a long argument. Bull asks Slamm-O! why he wasn't laughing like an idiot. His response?
    Slamm-O! It's times like this I wish we still had 'Jack around to give his two cents.
  • What an Idiot!: In one of the snippets from Forbidden Arcana, Lyran advertised that she'd made out with a bunch of reagents from the Great Dragon Hestaby's lair after the latter's exile and tried to sell them on Jackpoint. She completely forgot that Hestaby has an account there. (Nothing serious came of it, fortunately for Lyran.)
    Orange Queen: Do tell.
    Lyran: ... eep

Tropes for the SNES game

  • Awesome Music: Just check out the soundtrack
  • Cult Classic: The game is considered a hidden gem in the SNES library.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The game is programmed to always spawn the vampire you learn Jester Spirit's name from if it is not listed in your keywords as a way to avoid making the game unwinnable. The game also cleans up your list of keywords at certain plot points, one of these being leaving the Jester Spirit's realm using the portal that appears (and stays there) after you defeat the spirit, whereupon the name is removed from the list. This means you can go kill the vampire a second time in a regular playthrough for 4 karma and 5000 nyuen, but also there is nothing to prevent you from going through the spirit realm again and again and repeating this as many times as you want.
    • The unique golden Naga in Drake's volcano complex will respawn every time you re-enter the screen as long as you do not pick up the spell component it leaves behind on dying. If you enter the screen from behind the Naga, it will take several second to float towards you before it can attack. At 4 karma on each kill, this is by far the fastest way to gain karma in the entire game.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Kitsune the fox girl who saves Jake at the start of the game.
  • Memetic Mutation: Dog controls your destiny.

Tropes for the Genesis game

  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Tar Pit ice in matrix runs, a hidden secondary ice which will erase whichever program you're using if it fails and up the alarm rating to Red. Since Deception and Attack are basically the only two programs you'll ever use, this has a 50/50 chance of forcing you to abort a run entirely. Even if you grind up your Decking score to max and have a fully-upgraded deck, chances are good you'll trigger it. Keeping weak programs as a sacrifice is pretty much the only reliable way to keep on moving through the high end systems. If you get hit by it while fighting Black Ice, pray you have a secondary attack program.
    • Hell Hounds in the real world. They travel in packs, move extremely fast, and hit like a ton of bricks. Until you get high end weapons, an encounter with them spells death for you. Also their breath attacks are magical, which means they ignore armor.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • There's a shop in the bottom-left corner of downtown Seattle that will buy stolen data, the value of which is determined by where you got it from. As long as you can access a system within your skill level, this becomes the most profitable activity in the entire game. Decking can be done at will, so there's no point in the game you can't go file-hunting, and there's a terminal right outside the shop to encourage you. As you earn money, you can upgrade your deck to steal larger and more valuable files, meaning it feeds into itself and becomes ever-more profitable. Once you've maxed out your deck, it's trivially easy to obtain all the best equipment and buy every contact. To give an example of just how broken it is, a single-run on a high-end system will near-certainly net you three times more cash than a shadowrun from even the most well-paying client, and that's at a minimum. A single file from the big corporations can be worth three times as much as a single shadowrun, sometimes even more. You can even do it in tandem with a hacking shadowrun to get the karma payout in addition to the money.
    • Retrieval Shadowruns can be extremely easy depending on the corporation. Since building layouts are static but it randomizes which safe the package is in every time you enter, and some corps have safes right near the door, you can keep going in, looting the same few easy safes, and leaving until you get it. This doesn't work with plot-related missions, though, since with those the object will always be in the same place.

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